Lilley’s eliminator falls through as Pace pulls out

Lilley’s eliminator falls through as Pace pulls out

Swansea’s James ‘Lights Out’ Lilley (6-5, 1KO) has seen his route to a Welsh Area title shot disrupted for a second time. The 28-year-old was penciled in to face Talbot Green’s Tony ‘The Snake’ Pace (4-7-1) in a six rounder on 27 March at the City Academy in Bristol. The victor was being lined up to face the winner of Jerome Samuels’ Welsh Area light-middleweight title defence against Barrie Jones on 13 March in Newport. However, Pace has pulled out and cited a knee injury, suffered whilst running on 26 February, as the reason for his withdrawal. Pace, a former British Masters lightweight champion, has not fought since a fourth round knockout defeat to Jason Cook for the Celtic welterweight title in February 2014. Jamie Sanigar of Sanigar Events, who is promoting the ‘Road To Glory’ show, was unaware of Pace’s cancellation until he read about it on Twitter. It’s the second time Lilley has seen a tune-up fight for a Welsh Area title challenge fall through, having supposed to have boxed an unofficial eliminator in July but that was also scrapped when Trelewis’ Luke Osman withdrew. Speaking to BoxingWales.com before Pace’s pullout, Lilley said: “To be honest, it’s probably the best camp I’ve had. Since Christmas, I’ve knuckled down. I’m in the best shape since I come back two years ago. “I’ve had a bad couple of years where I haven’t been focused, a few fights have fallen through and I’ve took fights at late notice. I’m chuffed to be back in boxing properly. I’ve done it right now, the weight is flying off and I’m in top condition.” Lilley will still hope to challenge Samuels or Jones for the Welsh Area belt. However, he doesn’t have a lot of confidence when predicting who the champion will be in 11 days. Lilley said: “To be honest, on paper… I think it’s Barrie Jones’ fight to win, all day. He’s got a lot of experience, you don’t fight ex-world champions if you’re not good but Jerome Samuels has upset people before. “After losing his first five, Jerome has kept going, so who knows? If I had to put money on it, I’d probably put it on Barrie Jones but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an upset. “It doesn’t matter who wins though because I’m going to be taking the belt away from them when I fight them. So, either one would do me fine.” Lilley has been training alongside Chris Ware with John Kaighin at the Funky Pump Fitness Gym in Swansea, sparring the likes of Chris Jenkins and Dale Evans, and he has now been added to Sanigar Events’ show on 13 March at the Newport Centre.

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